It's an age-old question that many people have had to ask when it comes time to find a place to live - Are you a city-mouse or a country mouse?
After all, living in the big city has some major perks - it's a lot harder to make a midnight taco run when the closest taco shop is located more than 40 miles away. Plus, big cities can offer young professionals plenty of opportunity, both economic and otherwise (dating). Cities can also offer residents a diverse array of activities and entertainment options that people living in a rural area won't necessarily have access to.
Then again, living in the big city comes with headaches like traffic, high rents, inconsiderate people, and pollution. Of course, not all large cities are constructed the same - each one has its own character, culture and pluses and minuses. Thankfully, Wallethub has collected data on 62 of the largest cities in the U.S. and compared them across 56 key indicators of attractiveness. From the quality of public education, to job opportunities and the number of coffee shops per capita, Wallethub's survey is the perfect way to find your new home.
According to Wallethub's survey, Virginia Beach, VA, Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, San Diego, CA, and Las Vegas, NV, were ranked as the top five largest cities to live in. Virginia Beach was the number one pick thanks to its high homeownership rates, low percentage of residents who live in poverty, as well as the impressively low crime rates.
For those who prefer the Texas way of life, Austin is a great option for many people thanks to the city's high percentage of citizens who have a high school diploma or higher, having a high income growth potential, and of course, plenty of coffee shops.
Then again, if you're the type who likes to walk everywhere, New York, NY, is the city where you should be living, thanks to its #1 score for walk-ability, while bikers might prefer Minneapolis, MN, thanks to its high ranking for bikers.
On the other hand, if you're looking to keep your family safe, you'll want to stay way from cities like Detroit, MI, Baltimore, MD, and Albuquerque, NM, after Wallethub's survey found that those cities reported some of the highest crime rates in the nation.
Experts say people should consider multiple financial factors before deciding where to live.
"Quality of life supersedes all financial factors," Dr. Theodore Landsmark says. "You live in a place every day, and it has to feel comfortable. Too many emerging professionals choose salaries over life styles, and find themselves burned out and frustrated as they’ve wasted irreplaceable time with meaningless pursuits of personal income. Life is short – one’s time and personal satisfaction needs to be balanced with careerist aspirations."
Of course, as fun as you might think it would be to just pick up and move to a new city, experts caution you to research your new place before moving. Tim Iglesias, a professor of Law at the University of San Francisco says, not spending enough time in the location to explore all of the dimensions of what living in that community means, is one of the biggest mistakes people make before moving to a new city.
"At minimum, spend a few days living in the actual neighborhood where the proposed home is located, or if you can’t stay in the neighborhood, spending several hours at different times of the day there looking around, talking with as many people as you can to gather relevant information," said Iglesias. "Ideally, visiting several times over the year before moving in different seasons of the year doing this information gathering."
Renting a place before making a substantial investment in a home is also good advice for many people who are moving to a new area, Iglesias says.
"Of course, this might not be possible if the decision is rushed because of an unexpected job change or if there are financial limitations (e.g. travel and/or lodging costs) that prevent this testing of the area," said Iglesias.
So, with that in mind, is farm living the life for you? Or do you adore a penthouse view?
Photo: Unsplash and Wallethub